Connecticut and Western Massachusetts Electricity Rates Set to Rise in 2018
As the New Year approaches, electricity ratepayers in Connecticut can expect their bills to rise. Electricity providers, United Illuminating and Eversource have announced definite rate increases in generation charges. Current residential Eversource customers are paying about 8 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), but can expect a rise to 9 cents per kWh. Similarly, United Illuminating rates will increase from about 8 cents to 10 cents per kilowatt hour. These changes will be in effect from January 1- June 30,2018. While these adjustments may seem minor, all residential ratepayer will see significant changes to their bill. The average Eversource customer using 700 kWh of electricity a month would see an increase in the supply portion of the bill by about $7.45 a month, but actual costs will vary depending on energy use and weather. Representatives from Eversource claim that these increases are necessary to combat the higher costs associated with generating electricity, and to transition to a cleaner generation fleet.
Separately, Eversource has sought approval from the state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), to increase distribution rates for residential ratepayers. The utility is seeking a three-year rate increase to generate $255.8 million in year one, $45 million in year two, and $36 million by year three. This will equate to an additional rate increase of 6.79 percent for all ratepayers. PURA has 180 days to rule on such an increase, but if approved these changes would take effect on May 21, 2018. In a press release from Eversource the company states that these increases are necessary to support investments in “stronger power lines and poles, enhanced tree trimming, and devices like “smart switches” to restore outages more quickly.” While maintenance and updates are to be expected in an area with some of the country’s oldest electricity infrastructures, Connecticut consumers should not have to bear the brunt of such costs.
These rate increases are not limited to Connecticut. Eversource ratepayers in Western Massachusetts can likely expect increases in their electricity bill in 2018 as well. Eversource has also sought approval with the state’s Department of Public Utilities for an increase of about a five percent in the company’s supply rate. This will make the basic service rate 10.64 cents per kWh, which is up from last years’ rate of 9.126 cents per kWh. If this increase is approved by the state’s regulatory agency, the average ratepayer using about 550 kWh per month can anticipate about a $6.00 increase on their monthly bill. These changes are expected to take effect as of January 1, 2018.
Residents in Massachusetts who have National Grid as their electricity supplier have seen a 34% fixed rate increase that began Nov. 1st and runs through April 2018. The fixed rate option for National Grid will jump from 9.432 cents/kWh to 12.673 cents/kWh. So how can you stabilize your electricity rates in the new year?
How Solar Can Help You
Going solar helps you gain independence as a consumer by taking yourself out of the inflationary rate trends that traditional utilities like Eversource are notorious for. Since most solar systems in Connecticut are grid tied, having solar on your home will allow you to use your roof like a personal powerplant.
Through a process called net metering you will receive a dollar for dollar exchange for whatever electricity your solar panels provide to the grid. That means you can bank energy credits on your electricity bill which can be used to counteract any incoming charges from your electricity provider. This process allows you to avoid using the utilities’ generation and delivery services as a primary source of electricity, and will in turn allow you to reduce or eliminate your bill.
This independence will help you stabilize your budget while also diversifying the region’s energy mix. Rather than investing your monthly electricity bill into your utility provider’s profits and never seeing it again, going solar allows you to instead invest those funds back into your home. Take control of your energy bills and go solar today!